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EVENTS - 2012

International Conference on fresh Water Governance for sustainable Development, 5-7 November 2012, Champagne Sports Resort, Drakensberg in KwaZulu-Natal


Cooperation on shared water resources is critical, especially in water-scarce regions where the upstream and downstream impacts of consumption and pollution are magnified. Shared river basin and aquifer systems continue to present opportunities for cooperation and joint water resource development within as well as between countries. To address this need and many others, the Water Research Commission (WRC), in collaboration with the Department of Water Affairs and various international and local water institutions, will host a conference to be held at the Champagne Sports Resort, Drakensberg, from 5 – 7 November 2012. The Conference theme will be 'Freshwater Governance for Sustainable Development'.

The Freshwater Governance for Sustainable Development conference brings together policy makers, water managers, scientists and civil society, in a forum where new ideas beyond academic exchange for the future can be shared, nurtured and hopefully developed. It is aimed to share new knowledge on the topic of sustainable fresh water governance through written papers and posters as well as to allow for multi-stakeholder panel discussions mainly between researchers and policy makers as well as civil society. It will further support the hosting of special sessions, side events/workshops on related topics, moot courts role playing, knowledge cafe and other activities.

The conference will cover a variety of topics within water governance. More than 200 abstract submissions from various countries have been received and the programme caters for the different aspects of freshwater governance. Water remains a critical issue from an access point of view, as well as the universality of this access for drinking and other multiple-use purposes together with environmental and transboundary trade-offs in a changing climate. A special session on water equity is aimed to cater for these aspects. Water resources governance, per se, has not had as much focus as other water resource issues; hence this conference is aimed at making a contribution to improved understanding of freshwater management as well as governance at various levels of scale including the regional, basin, national and sub-national levels as well as groundwater governance.

At both national and global scales, resource limitations in all sectors require a shift towards increased resource use efficiency, demand management and more sustainable consumption patterns. Without such changes, current development trajectories threaten to drive social-ecological systems at all scales towards critical thresholds. Water, energy and food security are inter-related and rely on the use of these scarce natural resources. There is potential to increase overall resource use efficiency and benefits in production and consumption though an integrated approach across sectors. This conference on freshwater governance will look at better integrated policy- and decision-making, which accounts for external costs across sectors and which will need to complement conventional approaches aimed only at improving sectoral resource productivity.

For further information contact Eiman Karar, Director: Water Resources Management, Water Research Commission e-mail eimank@wrc.org.za or Tel: +2712 3309029 or Cell: 083 290 7231 or visit http://www.wrc.org.za/freshwater